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Do you use supermarket “loyalty” cards?

Posted by on Thursday 16 June 2011 in admin, frugal | 13 comments

Well, do you?

I’m asking because I don’t really – I have one card (a Co-op card) but that’s it – and I’m wondering if that’s really errant frugal behaviour.

The supermarket we use the most (Morrisons) doesn’t have a loyalty card scheme but our current number two supermarket (Sainsburys, the nearest shop to us so used for bread & milk etc) heavily promote theirs, and every time they do, we say no. I think we’d say no if Morrisons had one too – we don’t like the idea of giving supermarkets (or other big corporations) data to allow them to market stuff to us more effectively.

But at the same time, I know people who use collected points in a canny, frugal way – turning £10 worth of point into £20 worth of vouchers for somewhere they’d already go/something they’d buy. Most people I know who do have cards have them for everywhere so there is no great “loyalty” to any one shop in particular, just the money-off vouchers/gift vouchers as a bonus.

What do you think?


Join the conversation and post a comment.

  1. Zoë

    I collect from Co-op, John Lewis/Waitrose/Ocado and Tesco, also Wyevale Garden Centres, and Waterstones. As the saying goes, every little helps!

  2. Lynsey aka Swirlyarts

    We do! We have Tesco’s clubcard which is great as their vouchers can be turned into 3 times the face value for things like magazine subscriptions (we get ours using the vouchers) and it’s also very handy for us as you can turn them into Channel Tunnel vouchers so £30 of vouchers becomes £90 towards the crossing. We never use them in store for face value and always use them at 3x. We have a Tesco credit card though which gives us 1 point for every pound spent plus the points we get whenever we shop in Tesco so we do get a lot of points! They do target marketing towards you but I just ignore the ones we don’t need/don’t need at that time and just focus on the ones we do. Matt has a Nectar card too but I never shop in Sainsburys so I have no idea what you can redeem the points on.

  3. strowger

    If you care about privacy, you shouldn’t touch them. You’re giving them your data and they’ll store it forever – and like Facebook, they do know EVERYTHING about you from the data you give them.

    I don’t care about privacy, privacy is dead. So…

    You have to be very careful! They will send you a blizzard of stupid vouchers for money off things that you don’t need. You must be disciplined and not use these.

    The best results seem to come from not consistently shopping at one supermarket. If you always spend £100/wk at Tesco or Sainsburys, I think they confine themselves to offering you vouchers off things you don’t normally buy.

    If you aren’t consistent, they’ll eventually send you bundles of quite useful money-off vouchers. For example I’ve currently got a load of £7 off £70 and £5 off £50 Sainsburys and Tesco vouchers. They send these to try to entice you “back” to doing your “main” shop with them.

    They don’t seem to like or understand the “little and often” shopping pattern, it’s geared to getting your “main” shop to them, with offers like this and the “5p off each litre of petrol when you spend £50” thing.

  4. John Leach

    You’re trading privacy for the value of the discount. I value privacy more than any of the currently offered discounts, so I avoid the cards completely. So in effect, I pay for my privacy. Small price to pay imo.

    Essentially though, they wouldn’t do it if it didn’t make them more money than it cost them. So they believe they can make more money from us than we can make by getting the discounts.

    They’re well funded, well organised and have been doing this for years. I’m just me: I have a digital watch and a headache. I’m no match for them, so I don’t play the game.

    Someone going under an anonymous alias of strowger78 tells us privacy is dead.

    Privacy isn’t dead, it’s just shagged out following a prolonged squawk.

  5. Meg

    I have a Nectar card on my flatmate’s account, which I don’t always remember to use in the shop but does work automatically when I shop online (once you add it). I also used to automatically get nectar points through my electricity and gas bills but my supplier recently stopped offering that.

    That said, we’ve yet to redeem the points because when we do a big shop (where the credit would be useful), we do it online and as of yet, you can’t redeem nectar points as payment online. So, hrm.

    I have a few small loyalty cards of the ‘get x stamps, get y free’ but again, frequently forget to use the damn things.

    (also, hi! Long time lurker, first time commenter…)

  6. Su

    Privacy is soooo dead. Drive a car, work, claim benefits, just go into a supermarket, walk down a street, own a computer or mobile phone, all of these things mean you lose your privacy. If there is a penny to be made, boy will big business exploit whatever means it takes.
    Having said all of that I don’t believe in making it easy for them, so NO I don’t have or use a loyalty card. Nor indeed do I do one ‘big’ shop.

  7. Joddle

    Privacy isn’t my issue with loyalty cards. I think the clue is in the name really. Once a loyalty card is signed up to, it may be so that people choose to spend more money in that particular shop than they might otherwise.

    I find that the cheap shops don’t offer loyalty cards as they keep their price point down in the first place. For example Boots = expensive; pound shop generally very cheap. Superdrug has recently started doing one, which blows my theory a bit.

    I’m only local to one or two local independent shops, who I buy from because they are good value and I would rather spend my money in my local community

  8. Shoestring

    I am also slightly perturbed by the privacy issue. However, I tend to think that big brother is always watching you anyway (particularly if you buy ANYTHING online) so I make the most of a few loyalty cards. Co-op just sent me £35 in cash vouchers – that’s right – I took them into the store and they gave me cash, not discount. I also used vouchers last week to get Tesco to deliver my shopping to me, saving £6 (or the cost of petrol driving to the store), as well as using a £7 off voucher, thus saving a total of £13. Nice. I use my Boots loyalty card to buy all of my make-up and most of my skincare stuff (I build up points by buying other stuff there, like my Vodafone top up voucher. The nectar card is okay. You can collect points in a lot of places but it takes an age to build up. However I just used mine to get a £5 Amazon voucher so I could get a new book that I’d been waiting to be released. So, yes, I love my loyalty cards!

  9. Jo

    I’ve got loyalty cards for just about everywhere I shop. I find that it takes a long time for my Nectar points to mount up, though I don’t do my main shop in Sainsburys. I get quite a lot of vouchers back from Tesco which I use for meals out and magazine subscriptions. I’ve even had a RHS subscription and tickets to Gardener’s World Live though Clubcard Deals. You used to get four times the face value of the voucher if you spent them on rewards, but you now only get three times their value, but it’s still a great saving. I’ve left you an award on my blog, I hope you’ll accept it.

  10. Jules

    I’ve got cards for Tesco and Sainsburys – the privacy issue doesn’t really concern me. If knowing what brand of loo roll I buy and how often is really going to help them sell more of it to me then good luck to them. It’s worth it for the BA Miles that I convert from the Clubcard vouchers and the money off third party products with the Nectar points (last purchase was a £150 jetwasher for £65).

  11. Mo

    Hi! Been reading your Blog for some time now and I love it.
    I couldn’t care less about the privacy aspect any more. Most useful is my Co-op Divi, we have a few others but haven’t made a fortune from them, not even a small one ;)

  12. louisa

    Hi guys,

    Thanks for all your great comments – it’s made very interesting reading and I’ve actually turned your advice into its own post because it’s that good.

    However, I think for me and John, we don’t shop at loyalty card scheme supermarkets enough to benefit enough for the privacy issues – although I would probably get one if I could link it to my power company or similar (the Coop card I have is linked to my savings account, so I get “points” without giving them any additional data). And if I do get one for that, I’ll certainly be turning it into vouchers etc!

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